It was when she awoke from her 20th colon rectal surgery, and following the reversal of her four-year colostomy bag, which all resulted from a massive infection caused by a botched-up biopsy 10 years previous, that Yulady Saluti, a 32-year-old yoga instructor and mother of six, was told she had Stage II breast cancer.
She had thought the 20th attempt to fix the problem was going to be the last surgery; she had kept her spirits high with plans for the future.
Even though she had had major surgeries in the last few years in an area of the body that most people would be embarrassed to discuss, Yulady managed to excel in her new-found passion: yoga. So much so that she appeared in yoga DVDs with Tara Stiles and Deepak Chopra and on TV with Sadie Nardini, and she was teaching in four different yoga studios.
But now life was throwing her another clanger.
“My husband was standing next to me, waiting for me to regain consciousness again, just as he had been doing since the first surgery I had exactly two weeks after our wedding. I blinked up at him and said, “Hey, babe. How did it go?” He looked back at me. “You have breast cancer, honey.”
Yulady had Stage II breast cancer at the age of 32. Not only was it ruining her future plans but she also had six children waiting at home for their mama.
“I had been depressed before. It’s very easy to play the ‘Why me?’ card – I did not want to go back there. Rectum, colon, colostomy are taboo subjects and definitely not something you want to be talking about in your 20s. It was keeping my illness to myself that caused the depression.
“So I dealt with this a whole other way than my last illness. I googled double mastectomy and you wouldn’t see the women’s faces. I said I want to show the world what a woman looks like with a double mastectomy. I still felt beautiful. My husband thought I was still beautiful. He has helped me a lot through it. I gave myself one ‘Why me?’ day and then I picked myself up and got on with it.
Yulady began blogging and creating YouTube videos about her journey through treatment and recovery.
“It was important for me to show the woman behind the treatment …”
It’s now exactly one year on since her diagnosis and Yulady is cancer free.
Through the highs and lows of the year, Yulady’s frank blogs and bare-chested (and sometimes bareheaded!) empowering photos have helped remove the veil of mystery surrounding the issue of breast cancer treatment, which so many women face every day. It also shows a woman following her passion no matter what life throws at her.
“In my very first yoga class, I felt the happiness and the peace I’d been searching for. And I still feel this way. Practising yoga, I lose track of time. My mind stops thinking about the future or the past. I feel whole. I am able to just breathe and be aware of the breath, to be present and only present. I let go of everything else. Yoga is my happy place, which (I think) makes me my happy place. Because of yoga, I can find the bright side of a crappy situation.
“For me, yoga was the light in my darkness.”
Now, every day on Instagram and Facebook, Yulady posts photos of herself in the most amazing extreme yoga poses and she posts regular tutorial videos on YouTube encouraging others to take their yoga passion to the max.
Cancer is not mentioned much anymore because it is no longer an issue; it’s now more about one powerfully inspiring woman following her one powerfully inspiring passion.
Links to Follow Yulady:
A mommy-yogi-with-cancer and yoga tutorials: YouTube.com/YuladySaluti.
Listen to Rosie’s full Podcast Interview with Yulady (at the top of this post) or watch the YouTube video.
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